For aesthetes everywhere, the rise and rise of digital exhibitions is one of the very few perks to come from the Covid-19 pandemic. While not quite as rewarding (tactile, social … ) as the real deal, they’re a welcome relief from Netflix fatigue, mindless screen-scrolling and lockdown life.
Rolled out by Danish fabric house Kvadrat, the ‘Knit!’ exhibition is the latest online broadcast with impressive interactive functionality that is destined to pique the interest of design lovers.
Kvadrat’s ‘Knit!’ exhibition corrals 28 cross-discipline designers who, using Kvadrat’s Febrik textiles as their medium, have snipped and stitched their way toward a brilliant showcase of objects – from chairs and sofas to tableware and fashion items. The exhibition brief required the designers to harness the qualities of the knitted fabric collection and, by applying their own creative processes, explore its potential in the realisation of their respective works.
“Kvadrat Febrik’s knitted textiles are three-dimensional constructions with form-shaping abilities that open up a world of material possibilities,” says a spokesperson for the brand. “The fabrics provide the perfect canvas for the designers to push the boundaries of what can be achieved.”
The fabrics provide the perfect canvas for the designers to push the boundaries of what can be achieved.
Kvadrat’s headquarters in Ebeltoft, Denmark, and its immediate surrounds were temporarily transformed into a gallery to host the exhibition from September 3–5 during 3 Days of Design. The physical show is complemented by an ongoing online experience that can be viewed worldwide.
When ‘visitors’ tune into the digital exhibition, they will experience all 28 installations. Video interviews with the designers who share their inspirations and creative processes also accompany the virtual gallery rooms.
The program’s curators Anniina Koivu, Jeffrey Bernett, Johanna Agerman Ross, Njusja de Gier and Renee Merckx selected the participating designers from all around the world. All 28 of the designers were invited “for their curiosity in experimenting with materials, form and colour, with many operating on the border between industrial design and craft,” says a statement from the curatorial team.
‘Knit!’ is the fourth edition in Kvadrat’s Design Projects series and includes London-based designer Yinka Ilori, Dutch design firm Studio Truly Truly and Lebanese designer Paola Sakr. In a first for one of Kvadrat’s global design initiatives, the ‘Knit!’ program showcases the work of two Australians: industrial designer Adam Goodrum and paper engineer Benja Harney of Paperform.
Adam describes his work, titled Conversation Series, as “a modular tête-à-tête sofa or Victorian-era ‘love seat’ installation” where two or more seats can be joined together in an undulating arrangement. The pieces are instantly eye-catching largely due to the graduated coloured bands that snake in repetition along the backrests.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Kvadrat textiles and their creative collaborations.
Adam borrowed inspiration from the colour-book format of the Febrik range of textiles – “a fanning concentration of colour that never fails to dazzle,” as he calls it. “I wanted to distil the vibrancy and energy of this and celebrate it in the piece.”
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Kvadrat textiles and their creative collaborations,” Adam told Daily Architecture News. “The first soft furnishings that I designed were covered in Febrik textiles, so it is a pleasure to be invited and to be given such artistic freedom.”
Unlike Adam, working with fabric wasn’t an immediately comfortable proposal for Benja, who is well-known for his highly detailed work with paper. “Initially it was quite daunting as working with textiles is somewhat out of my usual experience,” he admits.
By drawing upon his creative foundations – “colour and form is always at the heart of my work,” he says – yet adapting his skills in order to rise to the challenge of the project, Benja created InterPersona, a series of playful, interactive fabric-covered forms that slot together into abstract sculptures.
Accompanying these forms are soft fabric eyes and mouths that can be placed at random across the sculptures, says Benja, who adds that the moveable facial features allow the sculptures to adopt “an ever-changing variety of personalities and moods”.
Reflecting on ‘Knit!’, Benja recognises that the exhibition was an exciting opportunity to transfer his paper engineering skills to working with textiles. “I’m always looking to expand my creativity and push myself, so it was very enriching project to be involved in,” he told Daily Architecture News. “In many ways, it has opened up a whole new world of exploration in my work.”
Colour and form is always at the heart of my work.